River’s Way was founded in 1993 and established as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation in 1994. River's Way is a United Way of Bristol agency.


Our mission statement: Providing opportunities for youth and young adults with differing abilities to grow as individuals while making positive contributions to their community.


In 2015, the River’s Way Board of Directors made a decision to move from our property site on the South Holston River in Bluff City. All of our operations are now community based including team building programs, gardening programs, fitness programs at the YMCA of Bristol, Downtown Internships, Ballad Health Internships, Cafe Central and our virtual and school site walking programs.  Our community based focus allows us to offer a range of programming that promotes the development of workforce soft skills.  Many employer surveys indicate that these skills are critical to success on the job and this is certainly true for the youth and young adults of differing abilities who are involved with River’s Way.  Workforce soft skills include such attributes as staying on task, helping others, staying positive and following directions.  Our hands on programs provide perfect opportunities to develop these skills in settings that are challenging, fun filled and supportive. Our programs also emphasize physical activity with opportunities for participation in weight lifting, yoga, basketball and walking.

River’s Way is served by two full time staff.  Tom Hanlon has been the Executive Director for 27 years. Matt Kyle has been the Program Director for six years and a River's Way employee for 10 years.  River’s Way also employs 2-3 part time staff at times during the year.